It is maddening to find that you still struggle from acne breakouts despite eating well, hydrating, and maintaining a multiple-step skincare regimen. However, there are many more factors at play when your skin starts to break out than you might realize.
While maintaining a skincare routine is important, your skin actually acts as a key detoxification channel for your body which means that an acne breakout might be a sign that something in your body is slightly off.
An acne breakout is really just a message, and your instinctual reaction to that message might be to blame your hormones. For the most part, you would be right! But which hormones are causing you the trouble and what is it that these hormones are trying to tell you about your body?
How do androgens affect acne?
Androgens are the hormones that have the most direct link to acne and outbreaks. This hormone family includes testosterone and its metabolites, DHEA-S, DHEA, and androstenedione. They are presented in both male and female individuals.
Higher levels of androgens might convert into DHT which is a potent, aggressive form of testosterone that causes excessive production of oils at skin level. But on the other hand, low t can cause depression and anxiety, it shouldn't be a shock to you how related are mind and skin.
Androgens are often happy to react to other hormones in the body being out of balance. Any of the above hormones becoming out of balance within the body will likely result in androgens going on the rise.
As you can probably see, our hormones exist in an incredibly delicate dance. The best thing for you to do when you believe your hormones are affecting your acne breakouts is to get in touch with a medical professional. Get medical tests in order to find the precise source and find a course of treatment from there.
How does insulin affect your skin?
High levels of insulin result in the androgens of the body being more active than normal. It results in excessive oil production which has a clear connection to acne outbreaks. Insulin being at high levels in the body also increases insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). That increases the production of skin cells and increases inflammation which in turn contributes to acne outbreaks.
Diet and high levels of cortisol are two ways that one could find their insulin levels becoming heightened within their body. It is important to remember that not only can insulin being too high in your body for too long affect acne outbreaks. Then it can lead to insulin resistance which can also result in a multitude of issues for your health.
How cortisol affects your skin
Colloquially known as the stress hormone, cortisol may not directly affect the skin but it does affect many other functions in the human body. When your stress levels are heightened or your sleep schedule has been out of balance, cortisol is the first hormone to the party and it will be encouraging other hormones to follow along. Cortisol doesn't always have a direct effect on acne, but it will affect a variety of other causes of acne outbreaks such as progesterone or heightened glucose and insulin levels.
Cortisol mainly acts on the “fight or flight” response to stress levels and prepares the body to survive. Your body maintaining healthy glowing skin is low on the list of priorities when it comes to what cortisol is out to do for you.
Does estrogen make you get acne?
Estrogen is an important sex hormone that can affect acne levels by being either too high or too low within the body. Maintaining a perfect balance is key when it comes to this particular hormone. It works in tandem with progesterone, and as such one should be on the rise when the other is on the fall.
During the first half of the menstrual cycle, also known as the follicular phase, estrogen should be the most dominant hormone, to be detoxified and excreted from the body after the job is done.
Having too much estrogen to process can put a lot of pressure on the liver, and result in the skin being used to help eliminate excess toxins. Too little of this hormone and androgens might get a strong grip on your hormonal balance and result in excess oil production.
Why does low progesterone cause acne?
Just like the above hormone, progesterone is a sex hormone that affects acne levels both by being too high and too low within the body. Progesterone is in control during the second half of the menstrual cycle, which is called the luteal phase.
The dreaded pre-menstrual breakout that many individuals experience is often due to progesterone being present in the body. Low progesterone levels also contribute to acne levels when hormonal-based birth control is stopped and the body is learning to produce sex hormones again naturally.
Progesterone is often overlooked when it comes to controlling hormonally based acne outbreaks. Despite the major roles it plays in the body, one of which is blocking the conversion of testosterone to its potent form of DHT, progesterone is often very underrated as a source for acne outbreaks due to hormonal imbalances within the body.